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Employee Benefits Security Administration
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Fact Sheet

EBSA Achieves Over $1.6 Billion in Total Monetary Results in Fiscal Year 2013

Through its enforcement of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the private employee benefit plan system in the United States. EBSA's oversight authority extends to nearly 684,000 retirement plans, approximately 2.4 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance. These plans cover about 141 million workers and their dependents and include assets of over $7.6 trillion (as of October 29, 2013). Monetary results for FY 2013 totaled $1.69 billion, which includes enforcement, voluntary fiduciary corrections, and informal complaint resolutions (discussed below).

Total Monetary Results

Total Results

Prohibited Transactions Corrected/
Plan Assets Protected

Plan Assets Restored/
Participant Benefits Recovered

Voluntary Fiduciary
Correction Program

$1.69 B

$911.3 M

$423.6 M

$72.1 M

Civil Investigation Statistics Demonstrate Success in Targeting

In FY 2013, EBSA closed 3,677 civil investigations with 2,677 (72.8%) resulting in monetary results for plans or other corrective action, exhibiting its ability to effectively target ERISA violators in the employee benefit plan universe.

EBSA often pursues voluntary compliance as a means to correct violations and restore losses to employee benefit plans. However, in cases where voluntary compliance efforts have failed, or which involve issues for which voluntary compliance is not appropriate, EBSA forwards a recommendation to the Solicitor of Labor that litigation be initiated. In FY 2013, 190 cases were referred for litigation. Together, EBSA and the Solicitor of Labor determine which cases are appropriate for litigation, considering the ability to obtain meaningful relief through litigation, cost of litigation, viability of other enforcement options, and agency enforcement priorities. EBSA cases referred to the Solicitor's office for litigation are often resolved, with monetary payments, short of litigation. Nationwide in FY 2013, litigation was filed in 111 civil cases.

Civil Investigations

Civil Investigations Closed

Civil Investigations Closed
with Results

Percent Civil Investigations
Closed with Results

Civil Investigations
Referred for Litigation

Civil Cases with
Litigation Filed

3,677

2,677

72.8%

190

111

EBSA Investigations Led To The Indictment Of 88 Persons For Crimes Related To Employee Benefit Plans in FY 2013

EBSA has responsibility to investigate potential violations of the criminal provisions of ERISA and those provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code that relate to employee benefit plans. EBSA conducts most of its criminal investigations with other federal law enforcement agencies under the direction of the United States Attorney for that jurisdiction. Other investigations are conducted in consultation with the appropriate state or local law enforcement authority.

In FY 2013, EBSA closed 320 criminal investigations. EBSA's criminal investigations, as well as its participation in criminal investigations with other law enforcement agencies, led to the indictment of 88 individuals – including plan officials, corporate officers, and service providers – for offenses related to employee benefit plans.

Criminal Investigations

Criminal Investigations Closed

Criminal Investigations Closed
with Guilty Pleas or Convictions

Number of Individuals Indicted

320

70

88

Compliance Assistance Programs Yielded Tremendous Results

EBSA's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) and Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) encourage the correction of violations of ERISA by providing significant incentives for fiduciaries and others to self-correct.

The VFCP allows plan officials who have identified certain violations of ERISA to take corrective action to remedy the breaches and voluntarily report the violations to EBSA, without becoming the subject of an enforcement action. In FY 2013, EBSA received 1,535 applications for the VFCP.

The DFVCP encourages plan administrators to bring their plans into compliance with ERISA's filing requirements. More than 23,000 annual reports were received through this program in FY 2013.

Correction Programs

VFCP Applications Received

DFVCP Filings Received

1,535

23,031

$281.3 Million Restored to Workers Through Informal Complaint Resolution

When workers experience a problem with an employee benefit plan, EBSA has proven effective in resolving their requests for assistance. In FY 2013, EBSA's Benefits Advisors closed more than  236,000 inquiries and recovered $281.3 million in benefits on behalf of workers and their families through informal resolution of individual complaints. Many of the inquiries were received via EBSA's toll-free number 1-866-444-EBSA (3272) and Web site askebsa.dol.gov.

These inquiries are also a major source of enforcement leads. When EBSA becomes aware of repeated complaints with respect to a particular plan, employer, or service provider, or when there is information indicating a suspected fiduciary breach, the matter is referred for investigation. In FY 2013, 775 new investigations were opened as a result of referrals from Benefits Advisors.

Inquiry Statistics

Total Inquiries

Monetary Benefit Recoveries
from Informal Complaint Resolution

Investigations Opened
from Inquiry Referrals

236,551

$281.3 M

775

Almost 1,900 Education And Outreach Events Held In FY 2013

EBSA also conducts education and outreach events for workers, employers, plan officials and members of Congress. These nationwide activities include assisting dislocated workers who are facing job loss, educating employers of their obligations under ERISA, using a train-the-trainer format to inform Congressional staff of EBSA programs for their use in constituent services, and providing employees with information concerning their rights under the law.

Outreach, Education and Assistance

Dislocated Worker
Rapid Response Sessions

Congressional Briefings

Compliance Assistance Activities

Other Participant Assistance
and Public Awareness Activities

Total Outreach Events

849

209

334

478

1,870

Extensive Publication And Web Site Usage Furthers Outreach Efforts

EBSA also reaches workers, retirees, employers, plan service providers, and the public through its printed materials and website www.dol.gov/ebsa. English and Spanish language publications featuring participant and compliance assistance information are available through EBSA's toll-free number. Publications are also available electronically on our website, which includes consumer information, relevant laws and regulations, technical guidance, seminar schedules, and other valuable resources.

Publications and Web Site

Publications Distributed

Web Site Visitors

373,880

10.66 M

Overall, EBSA's results demonstrate a strong, fair, and effective program that protects the benefits of America's workers and retirees.

This fact sheet has been developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Washington, DC 20210. It will be made available in alternate format upon request: Voice telephone: (202) 693-8664; TTY: (202) 501-3911. In addition, the information in this fact sheet constitutes a small entity compliance guide for purposes of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.